×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Karlovy Vary Showcases Stories of Social Turmoil

Jeremy Renner will introduce "Wind River" at the Czech event

The lineup at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival reflects filmmakers grappling with new levels of complexity in social issues ranging from Europe’s refugee crisis to escalating tensions in autocratic states.

Aside from its leading role in showcasing the freshest work from Eastern and Central Europe, as seen not just in pics in the Official Selection but also in the East of the West section, the fest spotlights unconventional storytelling that has rolled in from India, Azerbaijan and Kosovo.

Europe’s moral, legal and political challenges in dealing with refugees from conflict states has fueled many directors’ visions in the past year, says Karel Och, KVIFF’s artistic director.

Presenting “filmmakers reacting to social and political issues in an artistic way” is a primary goal of the fest, he adds. This is reflected in the films competing for the Crystal Globe grand prize.

Karlovy Vary’s goal “to present the most current outstanding examples of modern filmmaking [and] innovation in storytelling” was a factor in choosing films such as “More,” the complex directorial debut feature from Turkish actor Onur Saylak. The psychological study of a 14-year-old boy helping his father with his side business, smuggling refugees from the Mideast across the Aegean Sea, certainly speaks to our times, says Och.

“The Birds Are Singing in Kigali,” meanwhile, reps the new vision of past Karlovy Vary winners Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze (“My Nikifor”), which was completed by Krauze’s widow after his 2014 death. Its focus on a personal story of grief set in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide makes for a delicate mix of politics and drama.

The Georgian-German-French world premiere, “Khibula,” by past winner George Ovashvili (“Corn Island”), also takes on a region in turmoil, following the trek of the first democratically elected president of Georgia into the mountains as he flees a military coup.

Documentary “White World According to Daliborek,” top, and fictional feature “More” both deal with complex social issues.

Another main competition feature, “The Line,” the Slovak-Ukrainian entry by Peter Bebjak, is one of eight world premieres and a story that takes on the dilemma of surviving while making a living crossing international — and personal — boundaries.

“We have discovered some challenging and inventive films,” says Och, who travels the globe along with key members of the Karlovy Vary fest throughout the year, seeking undiscovered talent.

The fest’s closely watched East of the West section, headed by Lenka Tyrpakova, features compelling work from 12 filmmakers, including 10 world premieres.

The collection’s past pics have gone on to shape audience perceptions far beyond the region, Tyrpakova notes.

“There were quite a few really successful films festival-wise,” she says, citing Georgia’s “The House of Others” by Rusudan Glurjidze, which traveled to a host of fests and collected a dozen awards.

Last year’s East of the West opener, Hungarian black comedy “Kills on Wheels,” later won at the Thessaloniki Film Festival for both film and actors, while the Estonian debut “The Days That Confused” won a special mention at Karlovy Vary before moving on to several other fest scores.

Karlovy Vary’s docu section, this year screening Czech director-provocateur Vit Klusak’s portrait of a neo-Nazi, “The White World According to Daliborek,” also punches above its weight. Last year, the section served as a launchpad for Alma Har’el’s follow-up to “Bombay Beach,” the sketch of three deeply conflicted couples, “LoveTrue.”

This year, Klusak’s film is one of three world premieres, along with “Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle” by Gustavo Salmeron and “Another News Story” by Orban Wallace. The British documentary, a debut for director Wallace, turns the camera lens on journalists sent to the Mediterranean to cover the humanitarian tragedy.

Another docu already gaining buzz, “Tarzan’s Testicles,” is a Romanian essay about “a decrepit institute in Abchazia.”

Actor, producer, musician and two-time Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner (pictured above) is among the recipients of the fest’s Presidents Award. He will also introduce the crime thriller “Wind River,” directed by Taylor Sheridan, in which he stars.

Films such as these ensure that Karlovy Vary is tuned to the pulse of both politics and art, says Och.

More Film

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    Submissions Now Welcome for Third 'Meet the Press' Film Festival

    Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]

  • Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling

    Cannes: Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling to and From China

    Challenges still remain when it comes to buying, distributing and producing content that can travel between China and the West, attendees of a panel organized by the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival on the sidelines of Cannes said. Cai Gongming, president of Road Pictures, has hit box office gold in China with Cannes art-house titles such [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Cannes Film Review: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in 'The Lighthouse'

    “The Lighthouse,” the second feature directed by Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), is a gripping and turbulent drama that draws on a number of influences, though it merges them into its own fluky gothic historical ominoso art-thriller thing. Set in the 1890s, and suffused with foghorns and epic gusts of wind, as well as a powerfully [...]

  • Cannes: Diao Yinan Explains His Artistic

    Diao Yinan on Cannes Pic 'Wild Goose Lake': 'I Try to Portray the Opposite of a Utopia'

    In competition in Cannes with “Wild Goose Lake,” director Diao Yinan explained Sunday why he’s fascinated by dark crime thrillers – and why his new film features dialogue in China’s Wuhan dialect. “Such thrillers are not only an exercise in style; they’re also full of dramatic tension, and when you combine style with dramatic tension, [...]

  • CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 18:

    Cannes: Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party at the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the restaurant of [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Robert Pattinson: 'The Lighthouse' Rehearsal Was a 'Pressure Cooker'

    Rehearsal for director Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” wasn’t as long as Robert Pattinson remembers. “I’ve never rehearsed like I rehearsed with Robert before,” Pattinson said at the first screening of the period thriller on Sunday morning. “We rehearsed for what, three weeks?” Actually, no — it was only one week! “One, but it felt like [...]

  • FilmSharks Scores Global Sales, Remake Rights

    FilmSharks Scores Intl. Sales-Remake Rights for Fernando Spiner’s ‘Immortal’

    Guido Rud’s Buenos Aires-based FilmSharks International has acquired global sales and remake rights to renowned Latin American genre director Fernando Spiner’s latest feature “Immortal,” which participated in this year’s Blood Window Showcase at the Cannes Film Market. Included in the deal, FilmSharks also picked up Spiner’s sci-fi catalog which includes “Sleepwalker” and “Adiós querida luna.” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content